Rebuttal by Bro. Asifuddin Muhammad – The Concept of Sin and Salvation in Christianity and Islam

October 27, 2007: Sakshi: An Apologetics Network in India had a dialog with the Islamic Academy of Comparative Religions (IACR) on the topic ‘The Concept of Sin and Salvation in Christianity and Islam’ at Rukumeni Rivera, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Sakshi was represented by Mr. Jerry Thomas and IACR was represented by Mr. Asifuddin Muhammad. Initially both the speakers presented their case followed by two rounds of rebuttals. The dialog concluded with a lively question and answer session. Following is the rebuttal transcript of Bro. Asifuddin Muhammad.  The dialog happened to be very fruitful and the veracity of Christian doctrine was clearly demonstrated while refuting the counterfeit gospel.

Respected dignitaries on the dais, elders and my dear brothers, I welcome you once again with the universal greetings As…..meaning may peace be on you all. First of all, I will reply to what Br Jerry says as a misquotation from the Bible. He said that God is establishing a place of sacrifice. That does not mean this is talking about the sacrifice of Jesus. This was in the Old Testament times where a place was appointed for giving sacrifices. But whether you are giving sacrifices there or any other measures adopted, repentance is the fundamental condition for God forgiving you. It is not vicarious atonement that God has mentioned there.

Further you quoted from the Quran saying that everybody has to go through hell. You misquoted the Quran. Either you are reading the wrong translation. I don’t want to blame you for that. But the actual translation is everybody will have to pass over the hell. There is something called as “al sirat” which you are not expected to know because we don’t expect Christian brothers to study lot of Islam. But there is a narrow bridge by the river  sirat and everybody will have to pass over it. The al sirat is above the hell. You don’t enter the hell. The righteous people will pass through the bridge. And you quoted lot of ahadith, esp. ahadith related to Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and his righteousness, and the prophet’s mother, Jesus’s mother, mother Mary. Her mother prayed to Almighty God that her children be protected from the Satan. That’s all. That does not make anybody eligible for sacrifice. I should repeat that does not make anybody eligible for sacrifice. For example, we come through the Christian concept of eligibility of sin and sinful nature, if every human being inherits sin, then even mother Mary has to inherit sin. If mother Mary has inherited sin, how come Jesus has not inherited sin? Even Jesus should have inherited sin. You might say, He was not born of man. But be prepared. Tomorrow there will be cloned babies. Will you call them equal to Jesus? You can’t! Further, please don’t clap please don’t clap. Further, you misquoted me about my statement about Bush. I said, I am not talking about Bush. I am not talking about Bush. Because pointing out an individual and naming a religion is not correct. I am talking about the whole Christian community in the world. Look at it! Who is responsible for their own sins? If not the concept of salvation! Further, you quoted from the ahadith a lot of times. Further i want to say that there are 100s of ahadiths which say that you get salvation through the help of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The intercession of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is compulsory. So if a muslim is eligible to get the intercession of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), he has salvation. So the concept of salvation in Islam is not at any question here. It is only the similarity which I am talking about. Are these concepts of salvation similar or dissimilar?

Christianity says that Jesus (PBUH) went to hell for 3 days and 3 nights instead of the Christians. But if you read the Bible, it is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke 23:43, that Jesus says to the neighbour, the two robbers on the cross, that today you will be with Me in hell sorry in heaven. So Jesus was not planning to go to hell at all. He was planning to go to heaven. So if Jesus has not suffered in hell instead of you, then what about your salvation. Further, suppose I give charity. Suppose the brother sitting next to me, he is from a very big orphan centre. Suppose this is a 100 dollar note and I give charity. I give charity to this  brother, ‘for your centre, please extend your hand’. Is it charity? Have I given a charity? No! I have pnly cheated. If i give charity i should give the money away to him. I should not get it back. If  sacrifice was made of Jesus (PBUH), He should not have come back to life. God should have lost Jesus forever! Otherwise it is no sacrifice. Further, because of shortage of time, I have to quickly move to the points. Further, the punishment which God has imposed on people, on all human beings that man should work sweat to earn and woman should have labour pains,  and all these is as consequence of the sin which Adam has committed. Then my question is if the atonement of Jesus covers the effect of sin, then how come Christian men are still suffering and struggling to earn the bread and then how come the Christian sisters are still having labor pains. They should not have had them . That means the salvation plan which you are believing is not working.

Further, the ministry of Jesus (PBUH) was only for the Jews. The Quran says that S 3:49, and Jesus Himself says that in the gospel of Matthew 10:5-6 and gospel of Matthew 15:24-26 that Jesus is only for the children of Israel. Only for the Jews. So if Jesus has done something, then it can benefit only the Jews and nobody else. If you are doing anything against this, if Peter is saying certain thing, like you said, Peter said something against what Jesus had said, then I leave the choice to you. You want to believe in Peter or you want to believe in Jesus. When baptism took place, Jesus (PBUH) was baptised by John the Baptist, a dove, that is the Holy Ghost came on Him and then a sound came from heaven, that ‘hearken unto Him, hearken unto Jesus’. That is not said about Peter or Paul or anybody else.

Again you misunderstood the concept which I presented about forgiveness of sins. I said Jesus is able to forgive sins or not? Yes!. Maybe you say Peter is able to forgive sins because in the name of Jesus or any other name. But forgiveness is there without any blood sacrifice demanded. Jesus has forgiven the lames and the lepers saying ‘your sins are forgiven’. Then why God can’t forgive? That is the question.

Further, further, if salvation is assured to every Christian, may I ask you about whom is the Quran and the Bible say. In the hereafter, I go to the S5:116, Almighty God questions Jesus,’ O Jesus, did you tell the people that they should worship You and your mother, apart from almighty God?’ And Jesus will  disown   the people who will say that. Similarly, in the gospel of Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says that many will come to Jesus, great ministers and healers will say to Jesus that ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, have we not done wonders and miracles in your name, have we not driven out demons in your name?’ all these things. Then Jesus will disown them. They are supposed to be great believers in Christ and great workers of miracles. If they are going to be disowned by Jesus on the Day of Judgement, then what would be the future of the average Christian brother and sister? I tell you, you may get hurt. But I have to say this. If a man has to give sacrifice of an animal in expedition of sins, atonement of his sins, and instead of the animal, Jesus dies, I tell you, Jesus has done no favour to mankind.

He has done favours to the animals which were supposed to be sacrificed. Human beings would have very well sacrificed the same animals. You might say, so many people are there. Will the animals be sufficient? Then people would have turned back to God and asked Him “how can we sacrifice animals? You did not create enough animals. But Jesus has done no favour to anybody even if you go by the theory that Jesus died. In reality, Jesus (PBUH) is alive. He is not dead.

You quoted from the Quran and you spoke about the dhanb. How many minutes more? 5 mins more. Dhanb. Brother, in Arabic language, if we use a word to a particular person, that has one meaning. If you use the same word to some other person, that has an entirely different meaning. Suppose, I give you an example: sabaha. If I say this man is doing sabaha on the floor, that means he is walking not swimming. If I say the same person is doing sabaha on water, that means he is swimming not walking. Suppose I say, a planet is doing sabaha that means it is rotating, and moving in an orbit. That doesn’t mean it is walking. Similarly, Khalid, creator, when you use the word to Almighty God, the word Khalid means Creator. When you use the word to human beings, it means a manufacturer or an engineer. The element of creation does not come into picture there. Similarly, if the word dhanb is used for any prophet, then it means, a mistake, not a sin. Mistakes and sins are entirely different. For example, I tell you, you go for a battle or you want to run a race with me. You think you can win but you don’t win. That is not a sin. It is a mistake. So this way every human being can commit mistake because prophets essentially are human beings. They can also commit mistakes. Whether it is Prophet Jesus (PBUH), Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Prophet Jonah, anybody. They commit mistakes. They don’t commit sin. And it is mentioned clearly in the Holy Quran S16:40 that Satan cannot divert the chosen servants of Almighty God from the true path. He cannot divert. So there is no question that everybody is a sinner. That is a totally misconceived idea, out of insufficient reading of the Quran and the hadiths.

You asked why Adam isn’t in hell. Brother one thing is if you understand the Quran and the Sunna, you know that hell and the heaven will be decided, only after the day of Judgement. After the Day of Judgement takes place then the decision will take place who will go to heaven and who will go to hell.

Hajj performed by others and people who will be punished additionally for misleading people. Brother, if for example, you preach to people that there are 3 Gods : God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost. And people believe it. On the Day of Judgement, you will be responsible for the people who believed in it, even though they will not be accepted. They will be punished because they believed in it and you will be punished additionally, because you made the people go astray. You made the people go on the wrong path. So whereas your action which is having multiplying result, for example you have a tree. It gives fruits, and shelter and so many other things to people for years to come. Even after you die, it will go on giving you returns and you will see that you’re good deeds are multiplied tremendously and on the Day of Judgement you are saved. But if you do a bad deed, which has continuing effect, then you will have the results accordingly. You cannot say that ‘i did whatever I did, but others’ action should not be imposed on me.’ That will not work. That is God’s justice.

And you said ‘is Jesus sinless’? When compared to prophets, Jesus is just similar to all other prophets. Jesus does not have any additional status or level above any other prophet. It is mentioned in the Quran. I have quoted form S 3:59 that Almighty God says that the similitude of Jesus is like Adam. He created him form dust and said to it “be”, and he was. So simple as that! Jesus (pbuh), Adam (PBUH), all prophets are one level. If somebody says that Jesus (PBUH) is God or Son of God because He was born miraculously, then He should say that Adam (PBUH) is double God. And I am coming to your point which you mentioned in the Gospel of John 3:16, you said Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, but I can see lot more sons in the Bible for God. Gospel of Luke 3:41. It says that in the genealogy of Jesus, Jesus, Joseph, Heli,… all these people, then at the top, it is Adam, and it says, Adam , son of God. In the genealogy! In the biological steps! Biological son!. So does it mean that Adam is a biological son of God? It is mentioned in the Book of Exodus 4:22, that Israel is the firstborn son of God.  1 minute more. And in the book of Jeremiah 31: 9, it says Ephraim is the firstborn son of God. So you mean to say that God has begotten 2 sons at a time. Is this how you understand? See brother, begetting or begotten or son, all these words are used in the Bible to show closeness between the servant and the master, between God and a believer. Similarly you see that in the Book of Psalms 2:7, it says that God is telling David that today I have begotten you. Prophet David (PBUH) must be 50 years old at that time, or 40, whatever. So can somebody be begotten at 40 years of age? So then you are understanding it wrong. You are putting the cart before the horse. So I understand that many of your questions has been answered and if some more are left, you can please raise them in your next chance, insha Allah, I will reply to them.

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